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I Am Obsessed With a Tragic Hidden Backstory in Animal Crossing – Vulture

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Vulture’s Kathryn VanArendonk on her Animal Crossing island.
Photo: Nintendo

Like many people, I’m a relatively new (but dedicated!) Animal Crossing player. I’d never played any of the previous versions of the game, but when Animal Crossing: New Horizons came out for Nintendo Switch right as a pandemic swept across the globe, I downloaded it immediately and have been a regular player ever since. I shake all the trees on my island daily, hoping to find cute new furniture. I water my flowers; I chat with my animal villagers. And I go into the island’s tailor shop, The Able Sisters, where I head straight for Sable, the only character in the entire game that gives you access to an actual story.

If you’ve not jumped on the Animal Crossing bandwagon, the thing to know about the game is that there’s essentially no narrative to it. The main action is collecting and arranging — finding new items to decorate your island, catching fish and bugs, picking fruit, selling things so you can expand your little house. There are other villagers who live on the island with you, but they’re mostly compilations of personality traits, not full characters. Some are very weird; there’s a hamster on my island named Graham who seems to live inside a server room and who I suspect must be a bitcoin farmer. Giving them any kind of story is pure projection, an act that happens entirely in the player’s mind. Inside The Able Sisters, it’s different. There’s drama, there’s tragedy, there’s family tension. But many players have no idea, because the game hides it from you.

When you start Animal Crossing you live on a mostly deserted island. As you gradually earn enough money — the Animal Crossing currency is called Bells — and gather enough resources, you can set up a few permanent stores. There’s Nook’s Cranny, a general store staffed by two baby raccoons, and there’s The Able Sisters, run by two hedgehogs, Mabel and Sable. Mabel greets you at the door when you walk in, asking if there’s anything she can help you with. It’s a standard Animal Crossing interaction, helpful and fairly bland.

Photo: Nintendo

By and large, the animal characters in the game are polite. But Sable ignores you. She sits in the back of the shop working away on a sewing machine, and if you try to start a conversation with her, she politely tells you she’s too busy to talk. If you return the next day and ask her to talk, she’ll say she’s busy again. She’ll keep saying she’s busy for several days in a row, far beyond the point most casual players would ever consider continuing to bother her. Why would you? This game is largely about cuteness and trying to sell your turnips for more than you bought them for; it’s just not that complex. But eventually, if you ignore everything the game seems to be telling you and continue bothering this introverted hedgehog seamstress for at least a week, a whole story starts spilling out.

Sable, you discover, is much older than Mabel. Their parents died tragically many years ago, and Sable had to take on the responsibility of caring for her little sister. Now she feels like she can’t ever take a break or relax, because the whole burden of caring for the family has fallen on her shoulders. Even more startling, once you start talking with Sable you realize there’s a third hedgehog sister, Label, who appears occasionally in the game as one of the rotating itinerant salespeople. Here’s where stuff gets extra dark. Label grew apart from her sisters after their parents’ death, moving away so that she could strike out on her own and start a design company. Sable and Mabel are still supporting Label, still keeping the Able Sisters shop up and running so that Label has the freedom to pursue her dream. Sable resents Label for leaving. Mabel scolds Sable for suggesting their sister is ungrateful. I, having wandered around this island for weeks with nothing but an ever-increasing house payment and a shortage of purple windflowers to keep me going, clung to this story like a drowning person who’d been thrown a life preserver.

Photo: Nintendo

What is Label’s problem?! Do Sable and Mabel even like the tailor business? What is this deeply sad story doing hidden inside this overwhelmingly twee game? As I started Googling frantically for more answers, I learned that the backstory of the Able Sisters has been hidden in many earlier installments in the Animal Crossing franchise, including City Folk, where Label (calling herself Labelle) works as a clerk in another city’s store. But this most recent version of the game has been massively popular among players like me, people with no previous experience in the franchise. With no earlier clues that Sable has something interesting to say, many players of New Horizons just ignore her.

“There’s a Sable character arc??” one player (a writer on The Leftovers) asked over Twitter DM, after I started poking around about the tragedy of the Able Sisters. Many people told me they would’ve never thought to keep chatting with her, because it seemed so rude. “I used to [try to talk to her],” another player named Sam told me, “but I gave up because I was asked to respect her boundaries.” “I have maybe talked to her about three times, but I don’t want to bother her,” another player told me.

Of the people I spoke to who had chatted with Sable, there were many passionate feelings. “It’s so sad. Like, SO SAD,” one player said. “It seems pretty tragic for such an otherwise happy game,” said another. “I almost feel guilty on Fridays when [Sable] talks about how she will be sewing all weekend to get a head start on next week’s work.” “I despise Label,” added a player named Jess. “I think she is selfish.”

So much of the appeal of Animal Crossing is in its calm, soothing simplicity. There are no devastating outcomes in the game, no punishments for playing “incorrectly,” and there’s no real goal to achieve beyond collecting things and making your island look pretty. The story of the Able Sisters feels incongruous, an unexpectedly dark well of sadness buried deep inside the game’s otherwise uncannily nice exterior.

But maybe it’s not that far off from where many Animal Crossing players’ minds wander while playing the game, anyways. One player told me she hadn’t actually seen any of the hedgehogs’ story, because she didn’t want to bother Sable. But she had come up with a narrative for them all on her own. “My theory,” the player said, “is that Label struck out on her own so she could escape Mabel’s hedgehog tyranny.”

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KartRider Rush+ Surpasses 10 Million Global Downloads Within Two Weeks! – Business Wire

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LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Let’s go full throttle! Today, Nexon announced that its newest free-to-play mobile racer game, KartRider Rush+, surpassed 10 million downloads in just two week since launch.

Inspired by the popular KartRider franchise, KartRider Rush+ zoomed to the top of the Google Play and Apple App stores, clocking in 3.57 million daily users. With its limitless customization options and over 50 tracks and 20 karts to choose from, KartRider Rush+ players can personalize their races for an experience that is truly unique and action-packed.

KartRider Rush+ has also expanded the experience even further, introducing three new exhilarating tracks – “Dino Town”, “Namsan Tour” and “The Bridge of Fate” – and the exciting new character “Dino Ethen.” Along with new tracks and characters, racers who join by May 31 will be rewarded with an “L-decoder x 5” bonus beginning June 2.

KartRider Rush+ will also offer additional rewards such as “Dino Ethen Code” and “Orange Lucky Coin” in an exclusive login event and for players who’d like to test their skills on the newly released tracks.

KartRider Rush+ is available globally via iOS and Android in multiple languages including English, Korean, Thai and Traditional Chinese. Visit https://kartrush.nexon.com and follow @KRRushPlus on Twitter for the latest updates and information.

Social Media: Twitch / Facebook /Twitter / Instagram / YouTube

Press Assets: KartRider Rush+ 10 Million Downloads Assets

About KartRider Rush+ https://kartrush.nexon.com

Based on the popular online gaming phenomenon, KartRider, KartRider Rush+ is a free-to-play kart racing mobile game delivering all the racing action of its namesake on iOS and Android devices. With gorgeous 3D graphics, KartRider Rush+ offers players robust tracks, karts and game modes, just like its online counterpart accommodating every level, from racing novice to drifting champion.

About Nexon America Inc. http://www.nexon.com

Founded in 2005, Nexon America Inc. delivers outstanding free-to-play online game expertise and live game support, taking the strengths of NEXON Co., Ltd. (“Nexon”) and applying them for uniquely western audiences. Nexon America has consistently sustained iconic franchises such as MapleStory and Mabinogi for more than a decade, which have gone on to break records and captivate players. With new projects on the horizon, Nexon America maintains the pioneering and innovative spirit of its parent company, employing its player-first approach, while designing the best possible gameplay experiences for the western market.

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Apple buys machine lelearninganing company to improve Siri – Macworld UK

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According to reports Apple has purchased a company that will help with its development of Siri – Apple’s voice control operated virtual assistant.

Apple took over machine learning company Inductiv in April 2020, according to a Bloomberg report.

Apple confirmed the takeover of Iductiv with its standard statement: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans”.

Inductiv has developed a technology that can detect and eliminate errors in large amounts of data. According to Bloomberg: “Having clean data is important for machine learning, a popular and powerful type of AI that helps software improve with less human invention.”

One of the co-founders Ihab Ilyas is a University of Waterloo university professor with interests in the fields of Big Data, machine learning and data curation. He is also the co-founder of a similar startup called Tamr, which deals with data cleansing. The other co-founders are also machine learning experts: University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor Theodoros Rekatsinas and Stanford University associate professor Christopher Re.

Three Inductiv employees (Josh McGrath, Mina Farid, Ryan Clancy) have changed their LinkedIn profiles to state that they have been with Apple since April 2020.

This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by Karen Haslam.

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Toronto-based duo create custom puzzles

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A duo of award-winning Toronto-based creatives has found a unique way to support local businesses while providing hours of engagement to fill Canadians’ increased downtime.

Paddy Harrington, creative designer and founder of Frontier, and Rich Pauptit, celebrated printer and president of Flash Reproductions, are teaming up with independent Canadian businesses and artists who are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to create custom thematic jigsaw puzzles.

“Puzzle sales have skyrocketed as people look for engaging things to do at home,” explains Harrington. “We believe that people would prefer to do puzzles of their favourite local spots, while also supporting those businesses–and PieceTogether was born.”

Each 300-piece PieceTogether puzzle features an image from a local business and sells for $35, with $15 from every puzzle sold going directly to the business. Customers are able to offer additional donations at checkout.

Since launching on May 27, PieceTogether has partnered with local businesses like Rosalinda Restaurant, Dora Keogh Irish Pub, The Cameron House, Renya, Shacklands Brewing Co., and Stackt market.

According to sources like Calgary’s Castle Toys, puzzle sales have increased by as much as 370 per cent in the last year, and while those numbers are likely to decrease as the Canadian economy gradually reopens, PieceTogether can continue to provide a valuable revenue stream for businesses and artists as they attempt to adjust to the new landscape.

“Even as restrictions ease, many of these smaller businesses will still have to operate at a loss; it’s going to be difficult for a long time,” Pauptit adds. “It’s just devastating to think that some of our favourite neighbourhood places to visit may have to close down. With PieceTogether puzzles, you get something fun to do at home as well as an easy way to support these vital independent businesses. Plus, it’s a special keepsake that people will enjoy for years to come.”

Independent businesses and artists from across Canada can participate by setting up a profile and uploading an image to create their own custom puzzle.

Source: – Eat North

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